How recycling is changing the label game

At first glance, the label on a bottle of Outlaw Series beer may not look like anything extraordinary, but there's more to it than meets the eye. In fact, every bottle of Outlaw Series is wrapped in a label made from a mixture of grain waste byproduct from the beer's brewing process and recycled fiber, making it one of the most uniquely sustainable beer labels on shelves.

Packaging Digest wrote of the Outlaw bottles in detail, describing a hand-crafted style executed in black print on a mottled white label embossed with a sheriff's badge and the final touch of handwritten individual bottle data. Packaging Digest called the bottles "understated, yet distinctively different," helping the bottles stand out amongst its brightly colored competitors.

Brian Podwinski is the owner of Blue Blood Brewing Company, the Lincoln, Nebraska brewers responsible for the Outlaw Series. He told Packaging Digest that while these hand-crafted, sustainable labels are five times more expensive than traditional labels, there were a few reasons why he wanted to use them.

"First, we knew it would be unique; we don't know of anyone else doing this," he explained. "Second, we wanted to use our local paper supplier, Porridge Papers, a custom, manual operation paper mill and letterpress studio here in Lincoln. Anything we can do locally is important for us."

In fact, it was Porridge Papers who suggested using the grain waste byproduct in the labels. Blue Blood Brewing isn't the only company re-purposing its own waste, either, as more businesses find creative ways to reduce negative environmental impact. In the UK, Brothers Drinks has reportedly saved waste liner from more than 1.5 million square meters of labels to make almost two million microwave trays since it began participating in global adhesive label manufacturer Avery Dennison's PET liner recycling program.

Brothers Drinks was one of the first companies to get on board when Avery Dennison expanded its recycling initiative in 2014 by adding a new collection facility for companies in the UK and Ireland. The recycling program offers an alternative to incineration, which helps save a significant amount of carbon dioxide emissions and is part of a larger effort to meet Avery Dennison's sustainability goals for 2025. By then, the company hopes to eliminate 70 percent of matrix and liner waste.

To work on your own sustainability goals, you can invest in your own printer for custom labels to take control of your label production. At DuraFast, we carry a wide selection of printers and printing supplies to help your labels stand out for all the right reasons. Contact us today to learn more about how a flexible printing solution can take your marketing efforts to the next level.

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